United States District Court, District of New Jersey
Aseem A. ABULKHAIR, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.
KEVIN MCNULTY, United States District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on the motion of Defendants United States Postal Service and United States of America (collectively the "government") (ECF No. 12) to dismiss the complaint (ECF No. 1) of Plaintiff Aseem A. Abulkhair pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). I decide the motion without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
The plaintiff, Aseem A. Abulkhair, is a resident of New Jersey. (Compl. ¶| 1). Abulkhair sues the Postal Service and the United States as the "employer, governing body, and supervisor" of the Postal Service. (Compl. ¶| 5).
Abulkhair alleges that the government is tampering with his incoming and outgoing mail because he is a Muslim of Middle Eastern origin. (Id. ¶ 18). He alleges that this began "in early 2002 or following the events of September 11th, " and that it continues to this day. (Id.). Specifically, he alleges that the government embarked on a "secret campaign of opening [Abulkhair's] private mail . . . including all letters coming from state and federal court and all correspondence coming within the United States and abroad." (Id. ¶ 19). Abulkhair also alleges that the government intercepted his outgoing mail and "subjected] him to other forms of extreme mental, physical, and economic coercion and cruelty" by delaying this outgoing mail, which resulted in his incurring late fees on payments to his creditors. (Id. ¶ 20).
Abulkhair also alleges that the Postal Service and the United States entered into a conspiracy with others whose "true names and capacities" he does not know, and who are therefore not included as defendants in this action. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 10).
In response to the alleged mail tampering, Abulkhair complained to the local post office staff and showed them his opened mail. (Id. ¶ 21). The local staff provided Abulkhair with contact information for the postal inspector's office. (Id.) Abulkhair alleges that after several attempts to contact the postal inspector's office, he has not received a reply. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22).
Abulkhair alleges the following causes of action: (1) invasion of privacy (Id. ¶¶ 24-27); (2) negligence (Id. ¶¶ 28-30); (3) negligent supervision (Id. ¶¶ 31-35); (4) negligence per se (Id. ¶¶ 36-40); (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress (Id. ¶¶ 41-43); and (6) negligent infliction of emotional distress (Id. ¶¶ 44-48). Abulkhair asks for For simplicity, I will refer to the defendants as the "government." I do not address any potential claims against unnamed individuals. damages, an injunction, and any other relief the Court deems just and proper. (Id. Prayer for Relief).
a. Rule 12(b)(6) standard
Rule 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The defendant, as the moving party, bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated. Animal Science Products, Inc. v. China Minmetals Corp., 654 F.3d 462, 469 n. 9 (3d Cir. 2011). For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in the complaint are accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. N.J. Carpenters & the Trustees Thereof v. Tishman Const. Corp. of N.J., 760 F.3d 297, 302 (3d Cir. 2014).
Federal Rule of Procedure 8(a) does not require that a complaint contain detailed factual allegations. Nevertheless, "a plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the complaint's factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiffs right to relief above a speculative level, so that a claim is "plausible on its face." Id. at 570; see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). That facial-plausibility standard is met "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While "[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement'... it asks for more than a sheer possibility." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
As the Third Circuit instructed post-Iqbal, "conclusory or "bare- bones' allegations will no longer survive a motion to dismiss: 'threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.' To prevent dismissal, all civil complaints must now set out 'sufficient factual matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 662). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 662 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
A plaintiff alleging a conspiracy must plead more than "vague inferences and allegations." Coulter v. Allegheny Cnty. BarAss'n, 496 F.App'x 167, 169 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Bare assertions of joint action or a conspiracy are not sufficient to survive dismissal at the pleading stage." Id. Rather, the ...